‘The least of these’


In a recent conversation, a cherished and wise friend lamented many churches’ preoccupation with matters unrelated to Christ’s command to help those in need. As he sees it, that “helping others” is at the core of Christ’s teaching.

You know:

the single mother struggling to feed and clothe her children, let alone buy all the supplies they are required to provide their schools.

the worker badly needing a hip replacement in order to hold his job but having no health insurance.

the elderly woman facing loss of elecric power and with it the ability to cook and stay warm.

the many forced to choose between medicine and food.

Shortly afterwards, another favorite friend tells of a homeless man who rang the door bell seeking work so he could buy food. The householder thought of a rather extensive carpentry job that he himself could do if he could find the time. Yes, the vagrant could and did, later leaving the house encouraged that hunger was staved off for a time.

Another opportunity to reach out occurred when he found himself talking to a homeless woman. He invited her into his home. His wife fed her lunch, and the couple talked with her, learning she was alcoholic. She left, comforted by food and kindness. Days later they learned she was in jail in Jefferson County.

“Yes,” you say; “but those things don’t solve the problems; that help is only temporary. They’ll just get back in the same situation.” Well, yes, but maybe we’re not responsible for the outcome. Maybe we’re responsible for just doing whatever we can do at the moment.

Back to the first friend. He said Bud Jones probably does more than anyone else in the county to reach out to the hurting. Few who know about Hope House could deny that.

Brother Bud, by then retired, asked a friend years ago if he’d be crazy to invite anyone in the county with any need to contact him and he’d see what he could do. What a revolutionary idea. Anybody? Anything?

Of course, it was a little much for one man. As needs mushroomed, he set about appealing for and receiving help from government agencies, funding sources, officials, other individuals, charitable organizations, churches, and on and on. His Hope House is now source and overseer of more caring programs than one can count.

So, is he crazy? Probably. But he’s still trying his hand at helping anybody who needs anything.

“When you do it unto the least of these …”